When Self-Help Books don’t work

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every motivational message we received made us jump in and take the action needed to achieve our goals?   

We would hear, listen, contemplate and act – every time.  

“If you can dream it you can do it” – Yeah! Let’s go!

The world would be filled with amazing high achievers like Richard Branson and Elon Musk, athletes like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.   All of us walking round smiling at each other looking fit and healthy. Everyone rich with gorgeous homes and flash cars and work balance lifestyles that support having as much free time as possible – time is so much more valuable than money, right?  

Imagine Tony Robbins out of a job!  

Motivational material is everywhere.   So how come I see so many people with the latest MAKE THE CHANGE book tucked under their arm that are still overweight, skint, unhappy, and very frustrated!  Follow them home and you would find bookshelves groaning under the weight of many more, well thumbed, books of encouragement.  

What’s happening – or not happening?  What’s stopping us from taking control of our lives and reaching our goals?  

I know that if we are to achieve the awesome mindset to reach our goals which includes our money goals too, we must begin to understand our behaviour and beliefs and then take steps to change.

“For things to change, you have to change.” Jim Rohn

In my work as money coach I use archetypes called the Eight Money Types.  A set of eight characters who have different behaviours and beliefs around money who we can identify ourselves with – some more than others.   With this understanding we can then learn how to make conscious money choices that serve us.

Tom had £15k of debts that had been building over time. His credit score was very low as he had missed mortgage and credit card payments. He had a pile of unopened bank statements gathering dust.  

He read many books to kickstart him into action but then… took no action.  He felt ashamed that he was not saving as he earned just over £60k. To the outside world, Tom seemed happy and full of life, on the inside Tom worried about money constantly. 

He looked for rescue – a helping hand to make decisions for him and sort out his money mess.  He felt hopeless.  

I introduced him to the  Money Types and when he heard the description of The Innocent he jumped up and said “That’s me!”.

The description read:

The Innocent takes the ostrich approach to money – living in denial, acting that all is ok whilst putting their head in the sand to avoid the reality of their finances.  Easily overwhelmed by financial information The Innocent relies on others for advice. Like children with money – they are trusting but not yet able to judge or discern other people’s motives or behaviour.  The Innocent’s goal is to feel safe.   The Innocent is much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy’s learning is that the power lies within her and not the Wizard.  When she learns this, she can find herself anywhere.

Tom said that he didn’t want to be like The Innocent and asked me how he could change – and find his Warrior (the Money Type of action).

Tom thought that his Innocent needed knowledge and confidence to find his power to succeed financially.    By disassociating himself from his traits and behaviour around money and seeing them externalised in The Innocent, it made it so much easier for him to see solutions and move him forward.

We began questioning his beliefs around money – asking if they were true or just unhelpful thoughts that he continued to think.  I taught him money management skills.  We gave every pound he had a purpose, which brought his money alive.

Very soon, he was confident enough to open envelopes and start taking charge of his financial life.  His Warrior was alive and in full action!

So next time you feast on that motivational message that does not seem to work, dig a bit deeper and wonder why.  If you want to see which money types you might recognise take the Money Type Quiz.